Children who are considered "good readers" consistently perform developed and mastered strategies as they read. This allows them to gain full comprehension and meaning from a book or text. On the other hand, children who "struggle" with reading demonstrate weaknesses in some or all of the essential reading strategies. When working with struggling readers, we can support them to master these specific strategies at an independent level.
SOME ESSENTIAL READING STRATEGIES (not a complete list):
In order to decipher words, children must be adept at "decoding" a variety of words. This means they must be able to apply sight reading for words that cannot be phonetically "sounded out", as in the words the or done. They should also be able to use their knowledge of phonemics and letter sounds in order to help them break down each letter sound or phoneme as they read. This requires the accurate "segmenting" and "blending together" of those sounds to uncover the word being read.
Reading fluency really means the quick and fluid processing of words. Children who have strong reading fluency are able to rapidly transform what is being read into "meaning" in their heads. Children with impaired (or slower) reading fluency are not as easily able to understand what they are reading and as a result, struggle. Even if they make mistakes as they read, fluent readers are able to quickly move forward without losing the meaning of the text.
Self-Monitoring and Self-Correcting
A good reader is one who is able to monitor or "watch themselves" as they read. This means that they are able to listen and see if their reading "sounds right". If not, they might repeat what they've read just to get a better idea if it makes sense. Many good readers also make errors as they read, but they are also able to catch themselves once they've realised it. They may identify that the word doesn't make sense with the rest of the sentence or that they have misread the word itself. Good readers go back and reread the word or sentence until they are satisified that it makes sense and they don't allow making mistakes to impact their reading fluency.
Good readers who are reading comfortably at the appropriate level, will always be able to retell important features from their book or story. First of all, they will be able to tell you about the overall "big idea" or summary without too many details. They would also be able to tell you a sequence of detailed events and even be able to show evidence that they can "read between the lines" (or infer information that was not explicitly read in the story). Good readers also make several personal connections as they read. They may think or say, "That reminds me of a time when…" or "I remember reading another story like this…", for example. This solidifies their comprehension and retention of the material.
In order for children to develop into "good readers," they need to develop and use multiple strategies as they read. This will help them to ultimately be able to access reading for critical thinking and learning in the upper year or grade-levels. As well, children who consistently make reading a habit through daily reading or reading for pleasure will be successful as they move forward. Children who experience difficulties with any of these strategies (and others), can be "at-risk" for developing delays or gaps in their reading.
At IngeniousEd., we can assess children's literacy skills to understand more about the strategies they use while they are reading and writing. Our experienced literacy consultants are highly-qualified and experienced to help teach children the necessary reading strategies through our Literacy Intervention Programme so that they will become independent and successful readers. Call 04-421-8443 for more information.